|David Macaulay's Shortcut|
Written and illustrated by David Macaulay
Houghton Mifflin, a Walter Lorraine Book, 1995, Fiction, ages 5 and up
Note: This book is actually 64 pages, but only about 450 words. It is classified as a picture book by the publisher and most book sites.
Humor, Cause and Effect
"Albert and June are up early. It is market day.
Once a week they take their ripest melons into town. As they cross the bridge, Albert and June always make a wish."
This book is a comedy of errors told through the eyes of no less than 7 characters. It is a humorous blend of spare, straight-forward wording and comic illustrations. Albert travels to town to sell watermelons with his horse, June. Patty must find her best friend Pearl the pig, who has mysteriously disappeared. Professor Tweet has a mishap while bird-watching. The elderly Sybil motors through the countryside wreaking havoc. Poor Bob is just trying to take a nap. Characters unwittingly twist in and out of each others' lives shaping the course of events throughout the day. It is business as usual for some and blissful happy endings for others.
What I Love:
This book is unusual in its format. At 64 pages, some might consider it a chapter book, but it reads like a picture book, with the illustrations carrying most of the story and all of the humor. Multiple storylines are easily managed and gradually revealed as Macaulay carefully lays clues in every page to what lies ahead. Readers will feel giddy and triumphant by turns as they learn the principles of cause and effect, foreshadowing, and the subtleties of dry humor. The pacing of the illustrations gives the book a comic book feel. It is thoroughly fun the first or the twentieth time.
2. You can find a teachers' guide for Shortcut at TeachingBooks.net.
4. Craft a hot air balloon, grow a watermelon, go for a picnic, take up bird-watching, just like the characters in the book.
Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for November 8, 2013, available on the Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.
Love your activity suggestions, Joanna, and this does feel like a thrill-a-minute kind of book.ReplyDelete
The detailed antics in the illustrations make this a book readers will return to often. I hope you enjoy it too.Delete
Fun title. And I love 64 page PBs. The more, the better :) Thanks for sharing and good activity suggestions.ReplyDelete
Thanks. I am continually amazed David is able to keep the pacing in a book of this length. To my mind, it's a good example of tension and release, expectation and resolution. In a quirky way, of course.Delete
With the short word count and plentiful illustrations this looks like it would engage young readers for a long time. Another new one for me!ReplyDelete
There is so much to see in the art. I think even the youngest readers will go back to explore the clues the illustrator leaves behind. My experience with this book has been with readers 8 and up.Delete
This sounds like a real page-turner for kids that is filled with fun and a little suspense. I really like the activities you suggested for teachers to use with this book. Kids would have a lot of fun making their own stories.ReplyDelete
Thank-you. I used to teach a variety of home-schooler art classes. The most successful projects were often the ones involving picture books: Another reason "why picture books are important" (That's a shameless plug for picturebookmonth.com)Delete
You had me with the cover. Well, the author, really!ReplyDelete
That's what happens with us illustrators :) I think you'll like this one.Delete
I like your mash-up suggestions, Joanne. Just in time for PiBoIdMo! David Macaulay is one of my most favorite author/illustrators. . .ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jarm. You're right. The mash-up is great for students and writers alike. Hope your month is full of good ideas!Delete
From your description, this sounds a little like the Richard Scary books...lots going on! But I love the underlying humor and 'cause and effect' quality that shines through. Thanks for a wonderful review, Joanne...this is yet another title I must try to find. :)ReplyDelete
I was a huge fan of Scary's work, growing up. I would say rather Hilary Knight, than Richard Scary, but you'll have to read it and let me know.Delete
Sounds fantastic.... 7 points of view! Looking forward to reading it.ReplyDelete
'Hard to believe that he can pull it all together. But is makes me laugh every time. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
That crazy cover got me! This one sounds great! Thanks for sharing. I'll be looking for it!ReplyDelete
Let us know what you think.Delete
With a title like "Shortcut" there has to be some fun and mayhem ahead. This will be an enjoyable read for kids, I'm sure! Thanks.ReplyDelete
I never thought of it that way. You're right! Thanks for you comments.Delete
This book sounds like tons of fun, Joanne! I love those delightful comedy-of-errors type stories. I haven't heard of this one, so I'll have to check it out. I always think of David Macaulay in conjunction with those books like Cathedral!ReplyDelete